JB#30 Players to Watch…
Monday, September 8, 2014
Players to Watch…
The X Factor UK has begun again and that only means one thing for all us Brits, it is the countdown to Christmas! It is easy to get excited at this point because by the time we reach the X Factor final, we will be only one week from Christmas but there is also many drawbacks to this time of year. British summertime is now over and it’s time to turn on the heating and get out those wooly jumpers again. September is definitely one of the most depressing months of the year for us students as we all return to school or college and are thrust straight back into essays and assessments.
Despite this, it is a very exciting time for darts players and fans alike as we have many exciting tournaments throughout the autumn and winter which of course culminate in the William Hill World Championships in December. These tournaments of course also include the World Grand Prix, European Championship, Unibet Masters, World Grand Slam and Players Championship Finals. So, you may be asking yourself, who should I look out for in these upcoming tournaments? Well you’ve come to the right place! These are the 3 players that I think could be dark horses for success in the final months of the year.
26 year old Kyle Anderson is an Australian darts player who has made a huge impact on the PDC Circuit in the last 12 months. Despite not making it past the 1st round in the World Championships, he introduced himself to darts fans with a fantastic 9 darter against Ian White which showed he was not afraid of the big stage. Disappointingly Anderson also exited at the first round of the UK Open, his only other Major appearance this year, but he did reach the Semi Final of the 6th Players Championship in April. His most successful tournament of the year was at the end of August in his home tournament at the Sydney Darts Masters where he defeated Raymond Van Barneveld and Simon Whitlock before losing to eventual winner Phil Taylor in the Semi Final. There is no doubt that Anderson hasn’t achieved the consistency in his game yet and he is very unpredictable, summed up by losing 6-0 to Michael Van Gerwen only a week prior to his fantastic run in Sydney. However, you won’t find a player more passionate and committed to the game than Anderson and I think he can have a really successful end to 2014 and climb up the rankings. It may be too soon for him to win his first major but he has shown he is capable of defeating some of the biggest names in darts and there is no reason why he shouldn’t reach the latter stages of a major tournament this winter.
It was not an easy decision for me to pick Stephen Bunting as a player to watch out for but I had to listen to my head over my heart. It’s not that I dislike Bunting personally, but as a BDO basher, I would be gutted to see a BDO World Champion walk straight into success in the PDC. However, it is clear to see Bunting undoubtedly has the ability and mental strength to be a success and he has had a fantastic first 9 months in the PDC, summed up by him reaching the World Matchplay despite having less time to qualify for the tournament. Bunting, 29, also triumphed in his 2nd ever PDC tournament in the UK Open Qualifiers earlier this year. Finally, he is in good form after reaching the final of the Sydney Darts Masters last month and today he has reached another quarter final at the European Darts Grand Prix. I therefore think Bunting will reach the semi finals in at least 1 of the majors left this year.
Gary Anderson is the 2nd Anderson in my top 3 dark horses to watch out for this winter however just to clarify, there is no relation between the two! Perhaps you may not consider Gary Anderson as a dark horse as he has been a regular in the latter stages of PDC tournaments for many years. However, Anderson’s only major victory came back in 2011 in the Premier League and he hasn’t reached a major final since the same year. Despite this, Anderson, 43, has had a fantastic 2014 which he kicked off by winning his first ranking title in two and a half years at the German Darts Championship. He then went on to win 4 more ranking events at the UK Open Qualifiers and Players Championships as well as reaching the semi finals of the Premier League and World Matchplay. The Flying Scotsman is certainly in the form of his life after significantly improving his doubling and keeping up his relentless scoring. I am very confident that Anderson will continue his form and he is definitely capable of a huge major success.